Cactus and Tender Succulents forum: Help-I just "inheirited" two orchid cactus plants......

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Name: Deb
Buffalo, Minnesota (Zone 4b)
Region: Minnesota Birds Cactus and Succulents Hostas Hummingbirder
dmurray407
Jul 1, 2013 4:26 PM CST
My mom is moving and was going to throw her Epiphyllums away because they haven't done well for her. I said I would take them, but now I don't know what to do with them. They are about 3 years old and are planted in fairly large pots in what looks like garden soil. They look like they need more light to me, and probably need to be fed. So.....
1.what kind of pot do they like-do they like to be in a smaller pot or a bigger one and is a light cactus mix OK for them? I know they are jungle plants so I could add some orchid bark to my mix.
2. What kind of light should I give them? I'm planning to put them on my deck with bright shade and some filtered sun.
3. What do they want to eat?

Any tips are very much appreciated!
Thumb of 2013-07-01/dmurray407/863671
Thumb of 2013-07-01/dmurray407/4556de
Thumb of 2013-07-01/dmurray407/3d953e
Deb
Name: Sheryl
Hot, hot, hot, Feenix, AZ (Zone 9b)
Charter ATP Member Region: Southwest Gardening Keeps Horses Dog Lover Cat Lover Permaculture
Butterflies Birds Cottage Gardener Herbs I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Irises
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sheryl
Jul 1, 2013 4:55 PM CST
Really good questions that I wish I could thoroughly answer - unfortunately, I think I'm only about 1.5 steps ahead of you. Here's what I *do* know ..... kinda .... Whistling

- Epi's are supposed to like a *lot* of light. Down here in Phx, they burn in the sun, but I'm betting in Minnesota,with a little bit of moving in-and-out and getting them used to it, you'll be able to grow them in as full of sun as you can find, and might even want to provide some additional light when you bring them indoors for the winter - grow lights, etc. With so many plants, blooms don't come without sufficient light.

- Yours look like they have recently put on a lot of new growth - I think (and we'll need outside confirmation on this before you believe me, lol) that you might be giving them a bit too much water. It does make them grow faster and lusher, but weaker. And that might even be the right amount of water, they just want more light? Anyone?

- I also believe that they like a fair amount of fertilizer during their growing season and that they prefer to be a bit underpotted.

I hope this is at least a little bit helpful, I'm sure someone else will jump in here, soon!

In the end, only kindness matters.

Science is not the answer, it is the question.


Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
Always count your blessings in life
Region: California Houseplants Plays in the sandbox Orchids Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Composter
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tarev
Jul 1, 2013 5:11 PM CST
I have planted my epi in cactus soil with lots of perlite and I got my first bloom this year after it had stayed outdoors. Previously it was just indoors and it just grew thin lanky leaves. I was told it liked full sun but my garden gets only part sun/part shade. But it still was able to make that bloom. I believe it was on its third year when it finally managed to make a bud.

So now I keep it outdoors all year long. It likes being pot bound, so you may want to make your container a little smaller. I think you can mix orchid bark with your cactus soil, it should help keep some moisture while allowing the soil to be porous enough. But give it as much sun as it can get. I find my plant thirsty, so I water it a lot especially now that we have heat wave going on in here.
Name: Deb
Buffalo, Minnesota (Zone 4b)
Region: Minnesota Birds Cactus and Succulents Hostas Hummingbirder
dmurray407
Jul 1, 2013 5:21 PM CST
Thanks!!! I'll repot them tomorrow and gradually increase the light then see how it goes.
What a great resource! You guys are great Hurray!
Deb
Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
Always count your blessings in life
Region: California Houseplants Plays in the sandbox Orchids Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Composter
Cactus and Succulents Dragonflies Hummingbirder Amaryllis Container Gardener Xeriscape
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tarev
Jul 1, 2013 5:39 PM CST
Good luck! Just be mindful of your outdoor summer temps, since it will be still on an adjusting stage. Smiling
Name: Deb
Buffalo, Minnesota (Zone 4b)
Region: Minnesota Birds Cactus and Succulents Hostas Hummingbirder
dmurray407
Jul 1, 2013 6:13 PM CST
Thanks Tarev. Our daytime temps are in the 70's-80's right now (finally!) I transplanted them into 6" pots with very light soil. They are on my deck right now getting filtered afternoon sun-I'll gradually move them to a sunnier area. Here they are in their new pots:Thumb of 2013-07-02/dmurray407/cd7bab
Thumb of 2013-07-02/dmurray407/8fd087
Thumb of 2013-07-02/dmurray407/449685

Hopefully they'll be happier now-thanks for the great information!
Deb
Pennsylvania (Zone 6b)
Garden Ideas: Level 1
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Cinta
Jul 1, 2013 7:32 PM CST
Give it morning sun or afternoon sun. In its natural habitat it is in rainforest in the shade or high shade and lots of humidity.

"The habitats of this cacti specie considered epiphytes, these plants grow on other plants, sides of trees or in branch forks."

I have mine in a few hours of morning sun and a few hours of afternoon sun. You will not get the results you want if you stress it with to much sun. I do half fertilizer all Summer with each water. Water very little in the winter. About once a month it gets a drink. My red one blooms in March and the white one blooms in August.




Name: Deb
Buffalo, Minnesota (Zone 4b)
Region: Minnesota Birds Cactus and Succulents Hostas Hummingbirder
dmurray407
Jul 2, 2013 7:08 AM CST
Cinta, do yours stay outside all winter in zone 6? Mine will have to come inside.
Thanks so much more the advice!
Deb
Pennsylvania (Zone 6b)
Garden Ideas: Level 1
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Cinta
Jul 2, 2013 12:49 PM CST
No I bring them inside. I am a zone 5-6. I keep it in a cool room 60s. If you are going to keep it in a warmer room I would water about twice a month but not more because it is resting during the winter.

I discovered by accident that cool and winter dry is what brought on the flowering process. I was called out of town and was gone for a month and when I returned I forgot about the plant in the corner. I walked in and saw it was blooming its head off.

I took it outside to get some March rain and did some research and that is when I discovered by ignoring it all winter is what helped it to bloom. Hilarious!

Thumb of 2013-07-02/Cinta/8f8ffc

Name: Sheryl
Hot, hot, hot, Feenix, AZ (Zone 9b)
Charter ATP Member Region: Southwest Gardening Keeps Horses Dog Lover Cat Lover Permaculture
Butterflies Birds Cottage Gardener Herbs I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Irises
Image
sheryl
Jul 2, 2013 4:58 PM CST
Actually, I think as far north as you are, you might want to watch the night-time temps for a while, too.... I'm really not sure how cool they can take it.
In the end, only kindness matters.

Science is not the answer, it is the question.


Name: Kristi
east Texas pineywoods (Zone 8a)
Garden Ideas: Level 2
Image
pod
Jul 2, 2013 6:24 PM CST
And if I can add ~ when you move it in during the cooler season, reduce the water even more. They can get by on very little moisture in winter.

In my experience a certain amount of stress can trigger the bloom cycle, like reducing the water.

I will also agree with the rootbound suggestion although when they start needing more water, I move them up in pot size. Good luck, Kristi
Name: Deb
Buffalo, Minnesota (Zone 4b)
Region: Minnesota Birds Cactus and Succulents Hostas Hummingbirder
dmurray407
Jul 2, 2013 6:27 PM CST
Cinta said:No I bring them inside. I am a zone 5-6. I keep it in a cool room 60s. If you are going to keep it in a warmer room I would water about twice a month but not more because it is resting during the winter.

I discovered by accident that cool and winter dry is what brought on the flowering process. I was called out of town and was gone for a month and when I returned I forgot about the plant in the corner. I walked in and saw it was blooming its head off.

I took it outside to get some March rain and did some research and that is when I discovered by ignoring it all winter is what helped it to bloom. Hilarious!

Thumb of 2013-07-02/Cinta/8f8ffc



Thanks! I have an unheated bedroom (faulty remodeling *Blush* ) where I was planning to put them because I tend to run out of window space. That should work out well.
Deb
Name: Deb
Buffalo, Minnesota (Zone 4b)
Region: Minnesota Birds Cactus and Succulents Hostas Hummingbirder
dmurray407
Jul 2, 2013 6:30 PM CST
sheryl said:Actually, I think as far north as you are, you might want to watch the night-time temps for a while, too.... I'm really not sure how cool they can take it.


Hopefully summer is here and I won't have to worry about low temps for a few months. You never know, though-good suggestion :)
Thanks!

Deb
Pennsylvania (Zone 6b)
Garden Ideas: Level 1
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Cinta
Jul 2, 2013 7:44 PM CST
dmurray407 said:

Thanks! I have an unheated bedroom (faulty remodeling *Blush* )


You and I have the same problem with that faulty remodeling problem. That is going to be the perfect room. That is where I kept mine. In that faulty heating room. I never go in there in the winter unless I have company it is a family room. Not much company in the winter so that is why I forgot it was in the cold room. I could not believe how many blooms I got.

Name: Deb
Buffalo, Minnesota (Zone 4b)
Region: Minnesota Birds Cactus and Succulents Hostas Hummingbirder
dmurray407
Jul 2, 2013 8:12 PM CST
Yep, if someone needs to sleep in there, we have to turn on a space heater:}
Deb

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